Bungling Everton go down

Bungling Everton go down

The wheels came off Everton’s charge for Champions League qualification as two first-half own goals and a toothless attacking performance condemned them to a 2-0 Premier League defeat at Southampton on Saturday.

Roberto Martinez’s side have now lost two of their last three games and, with just two matches of their season remaining, are a point behind fourth place Arsenal who have played one fewer.

The Merseysiders will also be looking over their shoulders at Tottenham Hotspur, who are now just three points adrift in sixth after Danny Rose’s bullet header gave them a 1-0 win at Stoke City.

Two stunning goals lit up the relegation battle as Swansea City’s Jonjo Shelvey volleyed in from the centre circle in a 4-1 win over struggling Aston Villa, while Fulham were pegged back to 2-2 by Hull City after Ashkan Dejagah scored a fantastic opener as the Londoners took a two-goal lead.

That result meant Fulham, with 31 points, failed to move out of the relegation zone and stay a point behind 17th-placed Norwich City and four adrift of Villa.

West Bromwich Albion, however, took a huge step towards safety with a nervy 1-0 win over West Ham United thanks to Saido Berahino’s 11th-minute goal that moved them five points clear of danger.

Having benefited from three own goals and a penalty in their previous five Premier League matches, the tables were turned on Saturday when Everton fell behind in less than a minute when Antolin Alcaraz headed into his own net.

Misfortune turned to calamity when Seamus Coleman steered another header past his own keeper on 31 and a poor day at the office was compounded when referee Michael Oliver booked Leon Osman for diving in the second half when he was clearly tripped in the area.

It was a set-back, claimed Martinez, but not the final nail in their Champions League hopes.

United win

Ryan Giggs started his stint as interim managet at Manchester United with a facile 4-0 victory over Norwich City at Old Trafford.

Wayne Rooney opened the scoring for United, converting a penalty in the 41st minute and then he doubled the lead in the 48th minute.

Juan Mata found the target twice in the space of 10 minutes  (63rd and 73rd) to seal the match in favour of United.

Title in sight

Liverpool can eliminate one of their two rivals from the Premier League title race by beating Chelsea on Sunday and the way the dice is rolling for them they might even have one hand on the trophy by the end of the weekend.

If Brendan Rodgers’ side overcome second-placed Chelsea at Anfield and notch a 12th consecutive league win it would knock Jose Mourinho’s side out of the reckoning and should Manchester City then fail to beat Crystal Palace a little later a first title for 24 years would be almost assured.

Bayern on track

Veteran striker Claudio Pizarro scored twice in an explosive second half to help Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich crush Werder Bremen 5-2 on Saturday and send a warning to their Champions League opponents Real Madrid.

He did tapped in twice with the instinct of a world-class centre forward to turn the game around after Bayern trailed 2-1 at halftime. Franck Ribery, Thomas Mueller and Arjen Robben completed the scoring.

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